Wednesday 5 April 6.30 pm - 7.45 pm

Join us and Quay Words writer-in-residence Davina Quinlivan at Exeter Custom House for an unique literary salon event with Noreen Masud and William Henry Searle on stories of place and finding profound narrative ‘threads’ through objects, puppetry and the everyday.

During our Threads season this March and April we’ll be delving into text and the textile, pulling at the threads of Exeter Custom House’s history of fabric trade, our interaction with the objects of daily life and the relevance of trade today.

We’re excited to host this discussion led by Davina with two celebrated authors – Noreen Masud (A Flat Place, Penguin) and William Henry Searle (Threads, Penguin).

You can also save a seat here to watch the live-stream online.

About the speakers

Noreen Masud is a writer of creative non-fiction, a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker 2020 and a lecturer in twentieth century English Literature at the University of Bristol. Her first creative non-fiction book, A Flat Place, is out in the UK with Hamish Hamilton in 2023.

William Henry Searle, PhD., born 1987, in Dorset, UK, is a writer, poet, and environmental philosopher. He grew up in the New Forest where his abiding love and fascination for the natural world took root. His first book, ‘Lungs of my Earth: A Personal Ecology’, published by Hiraeth Press in 2015, explores Searle’s passion for restoring the sacred to people’s relationships within the natural world. His second book, ‘Threads’, published by Penguin Random House in 2019, celebrates the quiet conversations that nourish us, and the everyday patterns of connection that give meaning to our human existence. His third book Elowen is forthcoming with Little Toller.

Davina Quinlivan is a Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at The University of Exeter. Her memoir, Shalimar: A Story of Place and Migration, was recently published with Little Toller Books (2022) and her creative non-fiction essays and short stories have appeared in The Willowherb Review, Litro, Arty, The Clearing, Caught by The River, and in collaboration with The Countryside Alliance and The Museum of English Rural Life. Her work has featured as part of programmed, public events with The Wallace Collection, The Wellcome Trust, The Urban Tree Festival and The Serpentine Gallery.  She is currently working on a follow-up to Shalimar entitled Waterlines, on rivers and migration, trauma and healing, and a novel set between Cornwall and the Black Sea.

This event will be in-person at Exeter Custom House. We have increased capacity at Quay Words events, so you may be sitting next to someone who is not in your household. We are still taking precautions to ensure our audiences are protected from Covid 19. We will be keeping windows open to ensure good ventilation in the building so you may want to bring an extra layer. Please do not attend Quay Words events if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or are feeling unwell. This event is going to be filmed for live broadcast on Crowdcast. You may appear on screen. Please only book if you are happy with this.
You can find out more about the accessibility of the Custom House here. If you have any access needs you’d like to discuss with us before the event you can contact us on We can offer free carer tickets if you need help to support you to attend.